Item description for Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars by Cynthia Gorney...
Overview Draws on more than five hundred interviews and archival materials to create a living history of the abortion conflict in America through an examination of the struggle in Missouri
Publishers Description Nominated for the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize, "Articles of Faith" is a powerful exploration of one of the most divisive issues in our recent political history, and the only book to portray the passion of both sides of the abortion conflict. Drawing from more than five hundred interviews as well as previously unseen archival material, Cynthia Gorney has written a compelling narrative that explores the years between "Roe" v. "Wade" (1973) and "William L. Webster" v. "Reproductive Health Services" (1989), the first case to challenge the Roe decision before an anti-"Roe" court. Meet Judith Widdicombe, the registered nurse who runs the abortion underground in 1960s St. Louis and then the first legal clinic after "Roe" v. "Wade." And meet Samuel Lee, a young pacifist and would-be seminarian whose provocative abortion bill becomes the centerpiece of "William L. Webster" v. "Reproductive Health Services." The Supreme Court case brings the two advocates head-to-head.
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Studio: Simon & Schuster
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.02" Width: 6.62" Height: 1.41" Weight: 1.85 lbs.
Release Date Jan 5, 2000
Publisher Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0684867478 ISBN13 9780684867472
Availability 0 units.
More About Cynthia Gorney
Cynthia Gorney was a reporter for The Washington Post from 1975 to 1991 and was its South American Bureau Chief from 1980 to 1982. She is Associate Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
Reviews - What do customers think about Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars?
Fabulous must read Sep 1, 2005
This book was wonderful. Though on first glance it seems very long and likely dense and dry, it is anything but. Gorney does a fabulous job of presenting both sides of abortion evenly and without bias. And she ties in the thoughts and feelings of the players with the actual battles of the day so smoothly that the book ends up being an easy and very enjoyable read. It should be mandatory reading for anyone involved in, interested in or having an opinion about abortion.
Balanced view of abortion Jul 20, 2004
Before Roe vs. Wade thousands of women a year were getting illegal, unsanitary and oftentimes dangerous abortions. Articles of Faith does a great job of presenting both sides of the abortion argument. The book focuses on the abortion wars in Missouri. It starts in the 60's with Judith Widdicombe, who is an obstetrics nurse and who had an abortion herself. She is a key figure in the underground abortion world in St. Louis. She recruits doctors and she directs women to doctors. Her opinions on abortion are formed from personal experience as well as occupational experience. She was strong in her opinions that a baby and a fetus were different. She had seen hospital beds full of women dying of infection from getting illegal abortions. This led her to her calling. While Judy was directing women to safer but still illegal abortions, the laws state by state were slowly starting to break down. This created a movement of concerned citizens who were against abortion. These citizens would give presentations using medical and scientific information to support their position that life begins at creation. As to drive their point home, they would show pictures of aborted fetuses. These pictures featured a trash can full of little fetuses and a bloody mass of appendages. What they didn't realize is that people like Judy Widdicombe looked at the same stuff, in real life-not in photographs. She would bring women with gauze and bandages stuffed up their vaginal cavities and let them miscarry in her home. She would then examine the remains of the miscarrage and make sure there wasn't anything left inside the woman. After Roe vs. Wade, Judy set up a clinic specifically for performing abortions-the first one of its kind in Missouri. She wanted it accessible for all women, and wanted a warm and medical environment that set women at ease-they knew their situation was understood and they knew they were safe. This is where Samuel Lee is introduced. He arrived in St. Louis in 1978 intent on studying theology at Saint Louis University's seminary. As soon as he arrives he becomes involved with the Franciscans. They hosted a meeting of people planning a protest on the steps of an abortion clinic. This was how Sam became drawn into the abortion argument-he was exhilarated by it. Sam researched both sides of the abortion argument, but the more he read the more he became convinced that abortion was never justified-it was putting an end to human life. He left the seminary and became engulfed in the protests and the research-he would protest and be arrested until there was no longer a need to protest abortion. The abortion argument came to a head in the 80's when Sam and Lou DeFeo wrote a bill that was passed by the Missouri state Senate and the House. It became a Missouri law in 1986. The bill stated that public funds may not be used for abortions and public employees may assist in abortions. The bill also stated that life begins at conception, unborn children have interests that should be protected and the parents of an unborn child have protected interests in the child. But that's only the beginning. The bill says that unborn children at any stage of development should have the same rights of all of other people. This was the first attempt to reverse the ruling of Roe vs. Wade, and it seemed well on its way. One month before the law took effect, a lawsuit was filed against the bill by Frank Susman. He approached Judy, who had been fighting for almost 30 years for the woman's right to choose, and she was hesitant to join the lawsuit. She was tired of the fight, but she couldn't turn her back on this lawsuit-this one was too dangerous to reproductive health. The judge in that suit came back in 1987 declaring that every provision in the bill was unconstitutional. In 1989, the law suit went to the U.S. Supreme Court for appeal and the justices left Roe vs. Wade alone. The problem with this ruling is the vagueness of the language in the ruling-saying that parts of Roe needed to be more defined, but that it needs to be argued for years to come. When I read the ruling in this book, I really didn't understand exactly what it meant. It almost seemed like the judges had very definite opinions, but they were all different from each other. After reading this book, I was more affirmed in my own opinions of abortion. It was really interesting to read the other side of the argument. There's no arguing that at life begins at conception-just like a every cell in our body is life, so is a zygote. However, the foundation of my belief in the pro-choice movement lies in the belief that a woman has the right to decide if a fetus should be born. One of the best bumper stickers I've seen about abortion is "Don't like abortion? Don't have one." A woman deserves the choice, that's it-PERIOD.
An important book-again Feb 25, 2001
Written in 1998, and criticized for stopping its retelling of the abortion story in the U.S. several years before that, Articles of Faith is nevertheless still an important book and may be increasingly so if the abortion debate heats up again now that George W. Bush is President. A completely even handed retelling of the history of the abortion debate in the U.S. from the 1960's through the 1990's told through the lives of dedicated partisans of both sides. Yet the author tells this story with sympathy to both sides. Its hard to read this book, your emotions swing from side to side in the debate as Gorney shifts her focus from chapter to chapter from pro choice to pro life. Each side is presented forcefully, but not stridently. Its an excellent book.
both fair and fun Mar 24, 1999
As an adult convert to Catholicism struggling for now five years with infertility, a non-American and the daughter of a founder of my hometown's Family Planning Association, I ordered this book wondering if it would help me sort out my mixed feelings about abortion. When it arrived my heart sank: though I had been interested in the topic, it looked long enough to remind me of the first-grader's book report, ``This told me more than I wanted to know about penguins.'' But it's so well-written, well-peopled and thoughtful it's a joy to read. When Cynthia Gorney describes a pro-choice activist she does it so carefully you feel certain she's pro-choice, and certain you must be. But when she describes a pro-life activist, you realize she might be pro-life -- and so might you be. If we were all be so generous and balanced, so readily able to enter into the subtleties of other people's positions, abortion might never have become a ``war.''
Eye-opening, honest, educational Mar 19, 1999
Once in a while, there's a rare book that'll smack you in the noggin, grab you by the lapels and scream, "This is how it really is! Now learn something!"
Articles of Faith is one of those books. You'll learn abortion is never nearly so clear cut as "either side" would have you believe; you'll see how each side's arguments, legal status, movements and, later, extremism are developed. But most importantly, you get the honest truth about what it's all really about, or not about. Despite the serious of the issue, I was never even able to get a glimmer of what Gorney's own view is of abortion. It's not simply objective; it never fails to delve into the details of each side, while coming up with an occasional fresh insight.